Thursday, February 15, 2018

Try It, You Might Like It #8: Science

"Try it, you might like it" - it's what someone says when they present you with some food you've never had before or your mom wants you to try on some clothes she picked out for you.  I'm using it here on the blog as inspiration to choose books in genres I don't normally read; to branch out from my reading comfort zones; and to maybe find some new favorites!

Wow, I haven't done one of these in forever!  Over Christmas, I was talking to my sister and brother-in-law about books and how I was looking for something new and different to read.  My BIL suggested Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil deGrasse Tyson (2017).

I was a bit leery.  Science fiction is one thing, but actual science?  And astrophysics at that?  Science and math were not my best subjects in school (I only passed calculus by reading over my twin sister's shoulder).  I was worried that this book would just make me feel stupid, but my BIL assured me it would not.  Deciding to trust him on this, I took a chance on it - and I'm so glad I did!

In Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Tyson has compiled a short book touching on the major areas of his field.  I wouldn't say this book "dumbs down" the science - there were definitely sections I could have used more background or definitions - but it does give an overview on various subjects explained in a more approachable way, like bringing in comparisons to dancing or cooking, for instance.  Tyson's dry humor kept the book from getting too textbook-y and made me chuckle a few times (like when he calls dark matter our "frenemy").

I have to admit, the first couple chapters were not my cup of tea.  He starts out with some of the most abstract topics, like dark matter and dark energy.  I was more than a little confused.  But as the book went on, I became more and more interested.  Tyson talks about different types of telescopes; why the sphere is the most common shape found in the universe; and the various types of matter found in our own galaxy.  I even started reading some of it out loud to my husband.

Some of the things in the book just blew my mind; these definitely aren't topics I think about on a daily basis - how the building blocks of the universe are smaller than you can even imagine; the sheer size, scale, and even age of our own galaxy, let alone the universe; how science has come forward in leaps and bounds in such a short period of time.  It's just astonishing the things we know now, compared to even 10 years ago, and new discoveries are being made all the time.  Tyson freely admits that there are so many things we still don't understand, and his last chapter reflecting on the role science plays in society is particularly inspiring.

I may have said before that I'm not a science person, but this is one book I would gladly read again and again.

30 comments:

  1. Oooh! I'm a bit hesitant with books about science as well... they tend to go too far over my head. But after reading your review, I may check this one out! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have heard so many great things about this book. Sadly, I`m terrible at science, but it does look like the type of book I`d enjoy and understand.

    Carmen`s Reading Corner

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd read this book in a heartbeat if I had it. I love books about science so might have to purchase it. :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was tempted to get the audio on this. Now I think I will definitely put a hold on it at the library. Glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am so glad you enjoyed it! I am very much looking forward to reading this. And you are welcome for the calculus help (which I actually didn't give and you still got a 4 on the AP test).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really hope you get to this one soon! Tax season be damned!

      Delete
  6. So funny because I *just* read this one, too! And I completely agree about the first couple of chapters, the ideas presented are so abstract and without any visual aids they were really hard to grasp. I tried listening to it, as well, and that was even worse for me lol love Neil's voice but I really had to sit with this one to get anything out of it. But glad I gave it a shot! And enjoyed the parts that weren't totally over my head.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I don't think I could have done audio on this one! I definitely had to reread passages sometimes.

      Delete
  7. This does sound good, and we need people who can relate science to the rest of us in ways that make sense! Glad it does a good job of doing that! And I think science sometimes has a hard time breaking through the background noise of society sometimes- I mean how can the average person keep up with it all?- so it's nice he talks about that too. Sounds like a great book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really was! He did a great job of making it approachable and understandable.

      Delete
  8. This is the only non-fiction book on my TBR. I love NDT, and I actually taught astronomy towards the end of my teaching career, so I like the subject matter. As a science-y person, I am so happy you liked it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Astronomy was one of my favorite classes in college, even though I was not at all math and science oriented in school. I so appreciate teachers and authors who can help fill me in on scientific topics, which are so fascinating if presented right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! I like learning about this type of stuff, but actually understanding it is the hard part! This book really helped.

      Delete
  10. This sounds fun. I'm sure that I know nothing of astrophysics, but I am a fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson. So cool that he wrote a book for "people in a hurry" (I like that better than "for idiots").

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, yes, exactly! The chapters are short and there are a lot of different topics, so definitely good for people who want to get a quick overview.

      Delete
  11. So glad you liked it! I've given up on reading about physics, myself. Can't get myself to pay attention.

    Rachel @ hibernatorslibrary.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I don't think I've read about physics since high school, but learning about the planets and stars was so interesting.

      Delete
  12. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this! I love when I read something outside my comfort zone and it works for me :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Katie! I'm glad I started this series, I really have found so many amazing books I wouldn't have normally read!

      Delete
  13. This book always catches my eye because of the beautiful cover and then I run away as soon as I read the title, lol. You're making me reconsider it though. I like to read out of my comfort zone once in a while too and nonfiction is an area I've been wanting to branch out into a bit more. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Suzanne! I hope you do give it a chance, it was so wonderful and it had me thinking about it long after I finished!

      Delete
  14. I would never pick up this book on my own, but after reading your thoughts I may look for a copy.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've had this on my TBR for awhile and I've been wondering whether or not to take it off - but if you liked it, I'll keep it on awhile longer (and maybe I'll actually get around to it someday). Thanks for the review!

    http://bibliotaphbooks.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I LOVED it, Anna! I hope you get the chance to read it soon!

      Delete

I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!